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Texans secure playoff spot with 23-19 win vs. Colts

It was unimaginable a year ago.

The Houston Texans were the poster child for dysfunctional NFL franchises and had just lost the No. 1 overall pick on the road in Indianapolis. They fired their second consecutive head coach in as many seasons while many questioned how general manager Nick Caserio was retained in his position.

Fast forward a calendar year and the Texans face a different picture. Their rookie quarterback, C.J. Stroud, is one of the hottest stars in the league. Their new head coach, former star linebacker DeMeco Ryans, is one of the ascending stars in the coaching circle. Overall, they look like one of the more dangerous teams in their conference.

Most of all, the Texans are advancing to the AFC playoffs after a huge 23-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Receiver Nico Collins made a statement as a No. 1 receiver with an incredible performance that included nine receptions, 195 yards and one touchdown helping Stroud to a 264-yard and two-touchdown game. Their connection was highlighted early in the contest with an almost too easy 75-yard touchdown off play action from Stroud to Collins.

Running back Devin Singletary, despite a hefty effort from the Indianapolis defense, was able to pace the Houston offense. He totaled 24 carries for 63 yards and a pivotal fourth quarter touchdown. It was a key difference in how the team adapted from their earlier Week 2 loss to the same Colts team.

Defensively, despite Indianapolis outpacing the Texans in yardage (360 to 306), Houston was able to hold on when it counted most. The Colts were a measly 1-for-11 on third down and failed on a pivotal fourth down conversion late in the fourth quarter when running back Tyler Goodson dropped an off-target checkdown from quarterback Gardner Minshew.

Linebackers Blake Cashman and Christian Harris paced the team in tackles, with 13 and 12 respectively, while Harris gathered the team’s only sack of the entire evening.

It was the kind of game that summarized the story book season that Houston has gone through over the past few months. Now, the team will move past the story and into the reality of the AFC playoffs. They’ll either host the Cleveland Browns or travel to Buffalo to face the Bills or Kansas City to face the Chiefs, depending on the results of Sunday’s contest.

Regardless, this team has accomplished more than anyone could have anticipated. Their advancement after finishing in the bottom of the AFC the past three seasons is more than anyone could have hoped for. Now, they await Sunday’s results.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire